Gillespie Kidd & Coia architect
Andy MacMillan dies aged 85


Andy MacMillan has died

News: Scottish post-war architect Andy MacMillan, best known for designing St Peter's Seminary at Cardross, has died.

MacMillan, who made his name working for modernist firm Gillespie Kidd & Coia, suffered a brain hemorrhage while judging this year's RIAS Andrew Doolan Awards, and passed away shortly afterwards.

The architect joined Gillespie Kidd & Coia in 1954 from the East Kilbride Development Corporation, where he formed a partnership with Isi Metzstein. Neither architect was fully qualified, yet by 1956 they had assumed creative control of the company.

That same year the pair completed St Paul's, a Catholic church in Glenrothes. They went on to design a host of churches that includes St Peter's College Seminary in Cardross in 1966 – the iconic Brutalist building that is widely considered to be the firm's most important project.

MacMillan served as head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture between 1973 and 1994, during which time Gillespie Kidd & Coia was dissolved. He continued to teach at the Glasgow School of Art up until his death, and held the title of honorary vice-president.

St Peters Seminary, Cardross
St Peters Seminary, Cardross

"Andy was a great architect, an educator of international renown and one of the finest human beings it has been my privilege to know," said Iain Connelly, president of the The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and a fellow judge of the Andrew Doolan Awards, which honours the best new buildings in Scotland.

"Andy's contribution to Scotland was among the most significant of any architect in the post World War II era. He will be remembered as someone who lived life to the full, who inspired all those he taught and all those who encountered him, as an individual of enormous talent, tremendous enthusiasm and irrepressible fun," he said.

The architect is survived by his wife Angela, his son and his three daughters, who are inviting donations to the restoration fund for St Bride’s Church, East Kilbride, in his memory.

  • LA

    I grew up in Cardross. The Seminary and it’s grounds were a place I loved to explore when I was young. A wonderful building and an amazing ruin. To say it inspired me to be an architect would be a little trite, but I’m sure on some level it was one of the many things that contributed to it.

    I have since visited a number of GKC buildings; Andy and Isi were undeniably brilliant architects who contributed much to the field. I was very sad to hear of Andy’s death but I’m glad he was still actively involved with architecture until the end. I only hope I can be the same in my old age!

  • villainesta

    It seems odd the Seminary was allowed to go to ruin. One would have thought an alternate life could have been found for it.

    • LA

      Many tried. The location is a double-edged sword – quite beautiful surroundings but it’s not in a prime location and somewhat out the way (which was obviously the point given its original use). Also, the Catholic Church seem to be legendary here for holding on to property like this – it was only very recently that an arts charity, NVA, were able to raise enough funds and persuade the church to let them take over the site. Personally, I like it as a ruin.